Zoom is one of the fastest-growing videoconferencing apps out there. It’s easy to set up and host video calls. But in light of recent security and privacy concerns about Zoom, you might want to try a good Zoom alternative. They’re all excellent for video calls with friends and family, or conferencing with your colleagues while working from home.
It’s worth noting that while all of these have free versions, some offer temporary access to additional features if you need them. The following list includes applications that allow you to participate without having to actually register for the app (though some may require the host to register).
- Up to 100 participants.
- Unlimited time for each meeting.
- Call-in for audio.
Webex is a videoconferencing app that has been around for quite some time. The company was originally founded in 1995 and was subsequently acquired by Cisco in 2007. While it has been known as a business application and continues to focus on serving companies, it does have a very good free version that’s worth checking out — especially since it has expanded the features of the freemium version from 50 to 100 participants, removed of the 40-minute limit on meetings, and added call-in abilities.
In addition to the free version, Webex also offers premium plans starting at $13.50 per month, per host. The premium plans offer additional functionality including cloud storage, recording transcripts, a downloadable video file of meetings, customizable meeting room links, and more. The company also sells a range of videoconferencing products for business users such as the Cisco Webex Room Kit and the Cisco Webex Desk Pro.
Skype Meet Now
- Keep a recording of the call for up to 30 days.
- Can blur the background (if you have the app).
- Share presentations.
Another long-time player in the videoconferencing space is Skype, which, thanks to its high-quality audio and video, has been a go-to platform for one-on-one conversations since the beta was released in 2003. Its Meet Now feature (which is accessed by choosing the Meet Now button on the left side of the app) offers free videoconferencing. You can even head on over to the Skype website to create a free conference room — no app download required.
If you need a hand, here’s how to get started using Skype.
Skype Meet Now
- Up to 75 participants.
- Public or private chat.
- Can blur the background (in beta).
- Integrates with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365.
Jitsi Meet is an open-source platform that lets you quickly and easily create an online meeting by simply navigating to the site and clicking on Go. If you are more technical and want to build your own dedicated solution, you can check out Jitsi Videobridge. However, it’s worth noting that most people will be perfectly content with the web version, which offers many features found in more well-known apps, such as chat, screen sharing, and the ability to “kick” troublemakers.
Additional features of Jitsi Meet include apps for both iOS and Android, the ability to stream your meeting via YouTube Live, the option to lock your room with a password, and even the ability to embed your Jitsi Meet call on a website. Plus, since Jitsi Meet is open source, it’s completely free to use.
- Up to 10 participants.
- Voice conversations can have up to 150 participants.
Remember Google Hangouts? Well, despite not being promoted by Google, the service is still available and free to use. You can use Hangouts to video chat with up to 10 people. There aren’t a lot of features. You have access to a text chat and can share your screen, but really, that’s about it. Still, if you want quick and easy, this is worth checking out.
- Up to 100 participants.
- Unlimited call time (until September 30, 2020).
Google announced that it is making its professional video conferencing tool, Meet, free for all to take on Zoom and the growing number of other rivals from companies like Facebook. To date, Google Meet has been limited to G Suite Enterprise customers but now that has changed, as anybody with a Gmail account can now use it to talk to up to 100 participants.
The company also said that all users, up until September 30, will be able to chat on Meet for as long as they like. After that, calls will be capped at 60 minutes unless you upgrade, however, you will still have access to premium features such as screen-sharing, a Zoom-like grid layout that Google recently rolled out, and real-time translation.
- Up to 250 participants.
- Can blur background.
Microsoft Teams allows businesses to store all conversations, files, meetings, and apps in a shared workspace that you can easily access from your device. Teams lets you manage projects on the go complete with file editing and sharing, and most importantly of all, you can connect face-to-face with HD audio and video as well as join meetings from wherever you are. Additionally, with Teams, you can chat privately or in groups, communicate in designated channels, save conversations, customize notifications, and also search conversations. The app requires a paid commercial subscription to Office 365 or a free or trial subscription of Microsoft Teams.
The company is also working hard to continue to improve Teams. Later this year, Teams will have three key new features implemented, which will help turn at-home video conference calls into more comfortable and efficient meeting spaces. These features include real-time noise suppression, a raise-hand feature, and pop-out chats.
- Incredibly easy to set up.
- Does not require any registration.
- Up to six participants.
Talky is a dead-simple video chat app that you can use to create a video call in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t require any kind of registration to use, simply pick a name for your group and send out the link to your friends. You can also share your screen and even pass time playing the Lander game while waiting for your friends or colleagues to show up to the call. The only potential negative is that it’s limited to six people per call.